hall of mirrors

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martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 31, 2008 - 08:53pm PT
now here is a topic that must have been hashed over a million times.....however once again I am new here. I never did this route or even climbed anything much on the apron but I remember there was controversy over the route when it was put up. "did they really free it" etc. I for one didn't follow the outcome. Anyone on this site have the story? Just curious
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 31, 2008 - 09:16pm PT
from my web page:

Hall of Mirrors - 5.12c *** (16p: 7 5.11, 5 5.12)
Free Ascents
 FA - Chris Cantwell, Scott Burke, 9/80
added the final pitches 13-16
5 days on continuous ascent
a couple of short sections of p13 were toproped, instead of led. In these sections, the bolts were placed as aid ladders, then the leader lowered to free the moves, but left the rope clipped in from the aid high point.
 2nd FA - Jonny Woodward, John Bercaw, 10/92
1 day on continuous ascent
Preparation (10/92): 2 days, mostly for bolt replacement (p13-16)
Preparation (5/92): 4 days, including establishing the "Springtime Dry Variation", Jonny Woodward and Darrell Hensel.
 Climbing #141, AAJ '82 [Edit: , Mountain #69]
 Early pitches freed
p9-12, started p13 - 5.12c - Chris Cantwell, Scott Cole, 1979
p3-8.5 - 5.12b - Dave Austin, Chris Cantwell, Bruce Morris, 1978
p1-2 - 5.11a - Mark Wilford, 1975
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2008 - 09:29pm PT
clint, that gives me the details but wasn't it first called 13 and wasnt there some dirt on the whole thing? just wondering.
henny

Social climber
The Past
Jan 31, 2008 - 11:02pm PT
Hall of Mirrors was originally rated 5.13, in fact three pitches were given 5.13 on older topos (p13,15,16). Woodward and Bercaw didn't feel that any of those pitches were 5.13, in fact at least one of them was only 5.11 per JW. I don't remember the specifics but Jonny did talk to Chris about the rating discrepancy.

On the initial SA probe with JW we found that every hanger had been removed from pitch 13 by the FA party. That posed a problem we hadn't accounted for by bringing a bunch of 1/4" hangers with us. The bolts were threaded but we were unable to make wires work behind some of the nuts (and we didn't have enough small wires anyway). JW later went back with Bercaw and re-equiped the remaining pitches so he could then do a clean one push ascent. Guaranteed, JW did all pitches clean on the SA.

In fairness, bear in mind that during the timeframe in which the FA was done there were some people who were removing hangers from free climbs so they could reuse them ($$$ considerations - not that I think that makes it ok to do).

If you're really interested - Jonny did write an article for Climbing magazine after doing the SA, Cracking the Mirror, if I remember correctly. I don't remember the exact date/issue (likely sometime in 93), perhaps someone else remembers. The article is worth reading for some insight regarding the route.
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2008 - 11:47pm PT
thank you. Chris was a local Modesto climber, the son of a big time judge in town. I was a little older and took him up on some cracks but we never really climbed together. When the controversy happened I think was in university and not really close to it. I always wondered what the deal was.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 31, 2008 - 11:59pm PT
I think Bruce Morris wrote an article about it after his time on it with Zappa Dave and Chris Cantwell. Maybe in Mountain?

I could try to find it, but I don't have a scanner right now. Maybe SG has it at his fingertips?

D
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:11am PT
Here is Bruce Morris' article in the 1982 AAJ:

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/AAJO/pdfs/1982/41_morris_yosemite_aaj1982.pdf

The article "Smoke and Mirrors", by Jonny Woodward, was in Climbing #141.

[Edit: here is a scan of it, or see the text in my later post:]
http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/yos/smjw93.htm
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:57am PT
Clint - thanks for providing correct info regarding the Woodward article.

martygarrison - the Morris link does a good job of commenting on the controversies rergarding the route. Read that, and possibly Woodwards article, and you'll have the scoop.

My upstream comment on missing hangers wasn't meant to "explain" any controversy. Missing hangers starting 13 pitches up on a face route, and starting with the first supposed 5.13 pitch. Very annoying.
Greg Barnes

climber
Feb 1, 2008 - 01:10am PT
Cantwell on the FA - so, I bet that not only were the hangers missing, the bolts were 1/4" stud bolts that break as soon as you start trying to pull them. And some of the hangers that were there were Leeper and SMC hangers drilled out to form keyhole hangers or hangers with the bolt hole big enough to go around the nut without unscrewing it.

VERY annoying, I hate having to drill a new hole.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Feb 1, 2008 - 01:13am PT
Clint - I think Bruce Morris also wrote an article in Mountain. But thanks for posting the AAJ piece. I hadn't seen it before

D
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 1, 2008 - 01:24am PT
Yeah, I seem to recall a photo of the guys at "The Hang" bivouac in a magazine article. Hopefully Bruce will post up and fill us in. I don't have an index to Mountain magazine, or a collection of them, so I can't look it up easily.
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 1, 2008 - 01:29am PT
thank you folks for the education.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 1, 2008 - 01:38am PT
There is a four page article by Bruce Morris in Mountain 69, page 44. It includes two arty (mirrored) photos, two ordinary photos (one of The Hang), and a topo.

I'll try to find time to scan and post it this weekend.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Feb 1, 2008 - 03:20am PT
I remember that article in Mountain with the pics of Zappa Dave. Too funny!
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Feb 1, 2008 - 03:35am PT
As I am partial to the slabs let me just say Hall of Mirrors is the Super Bowl of slabs!! IMHO this route is more compelling than all those god dam (to borrow a quote from Werner) generic crack routes that make route finding moot! The future of Yosemite is on the blank !! The backside of Half Dome and WOS slab will be the hardest free routes of the next generation.

Had a frank conversation with Woodward @ the Stonemasters Reunion about HOM. I asked that since he burned up a pair of shoes and 30+ falls trying to free the crux "unfinished ninth" pitch and had done similiarly difficult slab pitches rated 5.13 in much less time and turmoil that maybe he just might have sandbagged the rating? He thought a moment and said... " yeah,13a ". You were there henny - right from the horses mouth!!
mcreel

climber
Barcelona, Spain
Feb 1, 2008 - 04:33am PT
What options were there other than 1/4" rawl stud bolts, back in 1980? It seems to me that that was standard equipment, up to at least 1987 or so.
Matt M

Trad climber
Tacoma, WA (Temp in San Antonio)
Feb 1, 2008 - 11:51am PT
Awesome - Always wanted to know more about the route since I was a kid and read the article in Climbing. I think it's the reason I like slabs to this day. A buddy of mine said he did an early ascent (5th or 6th was his best guess). Said it was a "career climb" for him. And this guy had done a lot. When asked about it he only said - "Back then, slabs were the hardest thing going. You were seeing guys really pushing the cracks but a lot of times, the hardest MOVES were slabs and mantles. You don't see that much any more. To climb routes like HOM you have to become a connoisseur of shoes and rubber. I owned A LOT of shoes and wore a different one on each foot at the crux. It was so tenuous that I couldn't stop. I had to flow across the moves because if I stopped I slipped off."
Inspired I went out the next weekend and climbed some scary slab on Daff Dome. 20 feet out, scared out of my mind I clipped a draw and yelled "TAKE!" in my best quivering-man voice. It was 10c something, I'd never done a 10. I failed that day but was hooked.
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:07pm PT
mcreel - It's not surprising that 1/4" rawl bolts were used in 1980 (or even post 80 - yeah, probably till around 87).

What isn't cool is to strip the hangers from the entire pitch, and then not warn anybody. You don't exactly send someone down from pitch 13 to grab some hangers so you can continue. And unless you have enough of the keyhole hangers alluded to by Greg you'll be faced with trying to get hangers on while trying to do an onsight. Which on HOM's 13th would be very difficult since several of the bolts were drilled on aid (and the nuts had become rusted on). The FA party (of p13) made a bad decision, and adversly affected the quality of the route they left behind in this regard.

Mighty Hiker (or someone with a scanner) - A scanned copy of the Morris article/topo would be great reference. It might also be nice to see a scan of the revised JW topo, which despite aldude's comments about JW sandbagging, is likely to be much more accurate, especially with regards to pitches 13-16 which for the most part is where the rating contention seems to lie.

The lower pitches (8-12) were already called 5.12 (old Meyers&Reid guide), the SA just added letters. But 5.13 that ended up being 11b (p15) and 11c (p16)? There's too much of a difference there to even consider a (revised) sandbag of that magnitude.

Edit: Interesting, the scan shows pitch 8 rated 5.11. There's a sandbag.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:16pm PT
Here is the Mountain Magazine article. As I recall, and I think it is mentioned in here, much of the controversy was around using fixed ropes on a free climb. That was big wall/aid/siege stuff and not the sort of thing one did on long free routes. Sure, ropes were/are hung on projects but that was typically a pitch or perhaps two. Anyway, old news now.

Article copyright Mountain Magazine, Bruce Morris, blah, blah, blah...

Interesting that the same issue of MM has a lengthy interview with Ray Jardine and a profile on Friends.

Four pages so this may be a bit big for some of you Luddites.




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Darryl Cramer

Social climber
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:44pm PT
The Misty Beethoven start by itself is an excellent route. Do that and tack on a few of the HOM pitches and mere mortals can have a good time. The rock is so polished that old EBs would literally make squeaking noises.
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